A member of the intelligence community who filed a whistleblower complaint over a July 25 phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke with a House Intelligence Committee aide first, according to a spokesman for Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee’s chairman.
In a story Wednesday, The New York Times reported on the timeline of the whistleblower’s actions.
The Times has previously identified the whistleblower as a male Central Intelligence Agency officer who used to work at the White House.
In the days following the phone call in question, the whistleblower asked a colleague to speak about his concerns with Courtney Simmons Elwood, the CIA’s general counsel, according to The Times.
Elwood, in turn, reportedly contacted a White House lawyer.
Citing “a person familiar with the matter,” The Times reported that “as C.I.A. and White House lawyers began following up on the complaint, the C.I.A. officer became nervous.”
“He learned that John Eisenberg, a deputy White House counsel and the legal adviser to the national security adviser, was among those scrutinizing his initial allegation,” the report said.
At that point, the whistleblower reportedly decided to go a different route.
According to The Times, he approached an aide to Schiff with a vague outline of his accusations.
“The House staff member, following the committee’s procedures, suggested the officer find a lawyer to advise him and file a whistle-blower complaint,” The Times reported.
“The aide shared some of what the officer conveyed to Mr. Schiff. The aide did not share the whistle-blower’s identity with Mr. Schiff, an official said.”
Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland acknowledges that the whistleblower contacted the congressional aide.
“Like other whistle-blowers have done before and since under Republican and Democratic-controlled committees, the whistle-blower contacted the committee for guidance on how to report possible wrongdoing within the jurisdiction of the intelligence community,” Boland told The Times.
The whistleblower reportedly followed the aide’s advice and filed a complaint with the intelligence community’s inspector general, Michael Atkinson.
“Filing a complaint with Mr. Atkinson gave the whistle-blower added protections against reprisals and also allowed him to legally report on classified information,” The Times reported.
“While House Intelligence Committee members are allowed to receive classified whistle-blower complaints, they are not allowed to make such complaints public, according to a former official. A complaint forwarded to the committee by the inspector general gives it more latitude over what it can publicize,” the newspaper added.
“By the time the whistle-blower filed his complaint, Mr. Schiff and his staff knew at least vaguely what it contained.”
However, Boland insisted that Schiff had no prior knowledge of the complaint’s exact contents.
“At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance,” he told The Times.
“I was not a direct witness to most of the events described,” the complaint reads. “However, I found my colleagues’ accounts of these events to be credible because, in almost all cases, multiple ofﬁcials recounted fact patterns that were consistent with one another. In addition, a variety of information consistent with these private accounts has been reported publicly.”
Trump himself responded during a media conference to the news that Schiff knew about something about the whistleblower’s accusations before he filed the complaint.
🚨 WOW 🚨
ADAM SCHIFF GOT HEADS UP FROM THE WHISTLEBLOWER BEFORE THEY FILED THE COMPLAINT
“It shows that Schiff is a Fraud” pic.twitter.com/PIYSk2Xcxo
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) October 2, 2019
“It shows that Schiff is a fraud,” Trump said. “I think [Schiff] probably helped write [the complaint].”
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